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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  June 24, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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06/24/13 06/24/13 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is democracy now! forward nnot come against the world's most powerful intelligence agencies and the completely free from risk, because they are such powerful adversaries. no one can meaningfully oppose them but if they want to get you, they will get you in time. >> edward snowden on the run, seeking asylum. he leaked secrets about u.s. surveillance operations and is
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at the center for growing international mystery. he left hong kong on sunday. he was expected to fly from moscow to cuba today, but journalists aboard the flight say his seat is empty. we will speak with glenn greenwald who broke the stories and to michael ratner, an attorney for wikileaks' julian assange. he is not a fugitive. he will apply for political asylum in other countries. if you think about it, this is obviously a major event. here's a man who is taken on the u.s. and its massive surveillance. >> all of that and more coming up. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the exact whereabouts of national security agency whistleblower edward snowden are unknown after he reportedly left hong kong and landed in moscow.
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russia on sunday. his fight came just days after the united states publicly revealed it had filed espionage charges against snowden for revealing the sweeping domestic spy program. he was expected to fly from moscow to cuba today, but was reportedly not on board his plight. ecuador's foreign minister confirmed ecuador is considering an asylum request from snowden. we will make a decision. [indiscernible] this has to do with freedom of expression, with the security of
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citizens around the world. we have to analyze it. the united states has revoked snowden's passport and asked russia to expel a member of hong kong allowed snowden to leave despite a request by the u.s. to to arrest him. they said the documents had no legal basis to prevent them from leaving. the hong kong government also said it wanted more information about alleged u.s. hacking of computer systems in hong kong. over the weekend, the south china morning post had new revelations about how the u.s. attacked china's mobile phone companies and universities. wikileaks is assisting snowed in his travels. and activist reportedly accompanied snowden on his flight to russia. we will have more with glenn greenwald as well as michael ratner after the headlines.
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house minority leader nancy pelosi was challenged over criticism of edward snowden and the defense of the obama administration surveillance olicies during the netroots mission converts in california. as she spoke about the need to balance secure with privacy rights, an activist shadid "it is not a balance. it makes us less safe." calusa was later booed when she mentioned snowden. >> as far as snowden, he did violate the law in terms of releasing those documents. we don't know -- [boos] i understand, i understand, but it did violate the law. , again, we have to have the balance between security and privacy. >> in pakistan, a group of gunmen shot dead 10 foreigners
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and a pakistani guide on a mountain climbing trip. the pakistan taliban took responsibility for the attack, saying it was retaliation for u.s. drone strike last month that killed a taliban deputy chief and six other people. the militants disguised themselves in paramilitary police uniforms and kidnapped guides to bring them to the remote camp at the base of nanga parbat, one of the world's highest mountains. they stormed the camp and opened fire, killing a u.s. citizen along with climbers from several other countries including nepal, ukraine, and china. a spokesperson for the pakistani taliban told the associated press -- leader and former south african president nelson mandela is in critical condition more than two weeks after being hospitalized with a recurring lung infection.
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the doctors told president jacob zuma sunday that mandela's condition had worsened over the preceding 24 hours. in a statement monday, zuma said -- "the doctors are doing everything possible to ensure his well-being and comfort." israel has launched air strikes on the gaza strip in retaliation for rocket fire from the palestinian side. the israeli army said it had targeted weapons storage facilities and a rocket launch site. it said two of the rockets fired from gauze or intercepted by its missile defense system while the others landed in open areas, causing no damage or casualties. palestinian president abbas meanwhile has accepted the resignation of his new prime minister less than three weeks wasr rami hamdallah appointed. hamdallah was selected to replace the outgoing fayyad
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reportedly resigned following a conflict over authority related to his deputy prime ministers. arab and western companies -- countries opposed to syrian president bashar al-assad have agreed to provide military aid to rebels fighting his regime during a meeting in doha, qatar. in a statement, 11 countries in the friends of syria group pledged to "provide urgently all the necessary material and equipment to the opposition on the ground." they also condemned the intervention on al-assad's side of fighters from the lead to group hezbollah. u.s. secretary of state john kerry discussed the move at a news conference. >> every country committed today to step up what it is doing in direct response to what has happened on the ground and also what is different is this is now in response to what iran and hezbollah are doing. >> fears fighting raged over the weaken in the northern city of aleppo and damascus.
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in the latest sign the conflict has spread beyond syria, 15 lebanese soldiers were reportedly killed in clashes between the military and followers of this in the cleric. the cleric is opposed to hezbollah and the al-assad government. a taliban flag and controversial sign across the afghan government to boycott the u.s.- led peace process have been removed from the taliban political office in qatar. the sign read, "the islamic emmert of afghanistan," the name of the taliban government that formerly ran afghanistan. the afghan government had demanded its removal. texas state lawmakers have given preliminary approval to some of the country's strictest anti- abortion restrictions. hundreds of pro-choice people, many wearing orange t-shirts reading "stand with texas woman," packed into the texas capitol into early hours of monday morning as democrats sought to block senate bill 5. critics say it will shut down 37
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out of 42 abortion clinics in texas, leaving just five clinics across the entire state. the bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks, place restrictions on the pill form of abortion, require providers to obtain in bidding privileges at a local hospital, and force clinics to make costly upgrades in order to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers. during hours of heated debate over the bill, democratic state representative senfronia thompson displayed a wired coat hanger, a symbol of the potentially fatal practices used when safe abortion was illegal or inaccessible, asking her colleagues "do you want to return back to the coat hanger?" the boat in texas comes after eight people were arrested in wisconsin last trick for attempting to enter the state senate chambers to protest a bill requiring women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound and have the image described them. the protesters had earlier attempted to deliver coat hangers to lawmakers and
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governor scott walker, who is proud to sign the bill. in turkey, police used water cannons and tear gas against thousands of protesters who gathered in taksim square to the weekend to remember those killed in earlier clashes. the turkish prime minister bird again defended the police actions before crowd of supporters. yesterday they once again attempted to occupy the square. police showed patients until some point. they made a series of warnings but when the crowd refused to leave, the police had to disperse them. >> sunday's pro-government rally was the latest of several called by erdogan and weeks of anti- government protests that began with objections to the raising of an estimate apart. protests also contained in the capital ankara where police used water cannons and tear gas saturday night. protests are continuing in brazil after more than a million people marched in historic demonstrations last week. tens of thousands to to the
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streets across brazil over the weekend as part of a sweeping nationwide movement against government corruption, inequality, failing public services, police brutality, and government spending on the 2014 world cup and the 2016 summer olympics. brazil is currently hosting the confederations cup soccer tournament, seen as a precursor to the world cup. roughly 100,000 people marched in rome, italy on saturday to protest crippling austerity measures and soaring unemployment during a rally organized by italy's three largest union groups. unemployment in italy recent hit a record high of 12%, more than 40% of people under the age of 24 jobless. union leaders and workers demanded action from the government. towe are here this morning say our country needs fast answers to allow us to get over this crisis. a wayally, we have found to the united on the government
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issues. reform, work, violence against women. >> guantanamo prisoner says the obama administration has become increasingly brutal in its attempts to break a hunger strike by more than 100 of guantanamo's 166 prisoners. shaker aamer, a british resident who is been cleared for release from guantanamo twice in the past six years, told the head of the legal charity reprieve the prison authorities are making cells present load -- freezing cold and employing metal tipped feeding tubes that cause prisoners to vomit during twice daily force feedings. in an interview, he said one prisoner had a tube pushed into his lungs instead of his stomach, causing them to cough blood. shaker aamer said -- more than 11 years without trial inside guantanamo. in the united states, what marker -- walmart workers who
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went on strike to demand better pay and union rights say the company is now retaliating against them 35 workers were reportedly fired and 11 subjected to other disciplinary measures after striking and traveling to the company's headquarters in arkansas and earlier this month. at least one of the workers was reportedly told the firing was in direct response to the strike. opening statements begin today and the trial of george zimmerman, the men who shot and killed trayvon martin last year. he will face a jury of six women, five of them white read he could face up to life in prison on charges of second- degree murder. the food network has announced its cancelling celebrity chef paula deen's tv program after she admitted using racial slurs. she has apologized for the behavior which came to light as part of a lawsuit brought by former manager of a restaurant owned by paula deen and her brother. the worker said employees were subjected to sexual harassment and racist comments. paula deen has admitted she considered planning a
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plantation-style wedding for brother by hiring all black waiters. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we begin today's show with international mystery surrounding edward snowden, the former u.s. intelligence contractor who leaked secret documents about the u.s. secret domestic and global surveillance programs. snowden reportedly landed in moscow on sunday after leaving hong kong, but his exact whereabouts are unknown. he was expected to fly from moscow to cuba today, but journalists aboard the flight said as he was in the. it was believed that his final destination would be ecuador, which has confirmed it was considering an asylum request for snowden. he has not been seen publicly or photographs of his report of the arrival on sunday afternoon from hong kong to moscow. the developments come just days after the u.s. publicly revealed it had filed espionage charges against snowden for theft of
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government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified communications intelligence to and other rights person. the criminal complaint was dated june 14, but only candlelight friday. the u.s. has also revoked his passport. on sunday, snowden was allowed to fly out of hong kong, even though washington as the chinese territory to arrest him on espionage charges. in a statement, the hong kong government says documents submitted by the u.s. did not "fully comply with the legal requirements under hong kong law" and it had no legal basis to prevent him from leaving. in addition, the hong kong government said in a written statement that it wanted more information about alleged hacking of computer systems in hong kong by u.s. government agencies. wikileaks is playing a central role in aiding snowden's travels. a wikileaks activist named sarah harrison reportedly accompanied snowden on his flight from hong kong to moscow. in an interview with the new
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york times, wikileaks founder julian assange said -- "mr. snowden requested our expertise and assistance. we've been involved in very similar legal and diplomatic and geopolitical struggles to preserve the organization and its ability to publish." >> if you cannot come for it against the world's most powerful intelligence agencies and the completely free from risk. no one can meaningfully oppose them because they're such powerful adversaries. if they want to get you, they will get you in time. but the same time you have to make a determination about what it is that is important to you. unfreely but comfortably is something you want to except -- and i think that is human nature -- you can get every day and go to work and collect your large paycheck for
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relatively little work. against the public interest. and of sleep at night after watching your shows. but if you realize that is the world you helped create an id is going to get worse with the next generation and the next generation to extend the capabilities of this architecture of repression, you realize you might be willing to accept any risk and it doesn't matter with the out, so long as the public gets to make their own decision about how that is applied. >> that was edward snowden being interviewed by glenn greenwald earlier this month in hong kong. since then, the former contractor has revealed a secret court order showing that the u.s. government had forced the telecom giant verizon to hand over the phone records of millions of americans. he also revealed the existence of a secret program called prism, which internal nsa documents claim gives the agency access to data held by google, facebook, apple, and
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other u.s. internet giants. for more we go to glenn greenwald, the journalist who broke the story. he is a columnist and blogger for the guardian and also a constitutional lawyer. his recent piece is called, "on the espionage act charges against edward snowden." first of all, glenn greenwald, welcome back to democracy now! do you know where edward snowden is right now? >> no, i don't i know what news reports are indicating with regard to his whereabouts and outside of a small circle of people who are traveling with him, it seems no one really knows at the moment where he is. >> where do you know he last was? where we last know where he was? >> i have not spoken with him personally since there were reports he left hong kong. so i cannot say with any firsthand knowledge that he has been anywhere once he left hong kong. i only know with the news media is reporting. there seems to be confirmation he was on a flight from hong
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kong to moscow. the plan was that he would land in moscow, spend a night either in the airport or in embassy of venezuela or ecuador, then travel on to havana, cuba on a flight this morning. many reporters were on that flight and are all reporting he does not seem to be on the flight. wondering if there was an alternative travel plan for him to go to ecuador, whether it be commercial or private, or had he been detained by the russian government which said it would not detain him, or has something else happened in? i certainly don't know what has happened. >> glenn greenwald, ed snowdon turned 30 on friday. the charges against him were made known that day. can you explain what his been charged with by the u.s.? >> he has been charged so far with three felony counts. one of which is essentially stealing property that does not
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belong to him. the other are more serious. they're under the espionage act that has been amended several times. the provisions of that law under which he has been charged were amended most recently in 1950 and the centrally accuse him of releasing classified information that he knew or should have known was likely to harm the u.s. are result in benefit to its adversaries. this is the statute that until president obama was inaugurated had only been used a grand total of three times in all of american history to prosecute leakers, those who classified -- release classified affirmation. passing secrets to an enemy of the u.s. or selling -- it has almost never been used. their only been three cases before, one of which was daniel ellsberg. since obama has been inaugurated, there have been
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seven rippon's to keep it under the statute, sent more than double of all previous presidents combined -- so more than double of all previous presidents combined. each carries a penalty of 10 years, so you're talking about 30 years. he has not even been indicted yet. certain he will face life in prison if the u.s. ever agree in some and is able to bring him to trial. >> on sunday, mike rogers said the united states should use every legal avenue to bring edward snowden back to face espionage charges. he was speaking to host david gregory on "meet the press." >> if you think about what he says he wants and what his actions are, it defies logic. he has taken information that does not belong to him, but the people of the u.s., and has jeopardized our national security. i disagree with the reporter. clearly, the bad guys have already changed their way.
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these were counter-terrorism programs, essentially. we have seen bad guys overseas, terrorists who are committing and plotting attacks on the u.s. and our allies, have changed the way they operate. we have already seen that. to say that is not harmful to the national security of the u.s. or our safety is just dead wrong. they should use every legal avenue we have to bring him back to the u.s. if he believes he's doing something good, by the way, he went outside of all of the whistle blower avenues available to anyone in this government including people who have classified information. we get two or three visits from whistleblowers every week in the committee, and we investigate every one thoroughly. he did not choose that route. if he believes he did something good, he should come back and face the consequences of his action. >> do you think he is gone, not to return? >> i would not say gone for ever, but i think we will continue to extradition
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activities where ever he ends up and we should continue to find ways to return him to the u.s. and get the u.s. public's information back. >> house intelligence chair mike rogers. your response, glenn greenwald? >> first of all, there is this constant claim made about how democrats and republicans are at each other's throat and have radically different views of the world that are irreconcilable. mike rogers is one of the most rightwing members of the house caucus when it comes to national security issues, yet he sounds exactly the same as diane feinstein, of every single democrat in the senate who is speaking about these issues. there is never a division on this questions. they declare anyone an enemy who attempts to bring transparency to what they're doing. secondly, it is laughable about national security. the only things we published
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were reports that the u.s. government is spying on the terrorists or the chinese government, but on american citizens indiscriminately. tens of millions, even hundreds brigit -- at a time at a time. the only thing that was not apparatusthis spying was directed at the american citizenry and not terrorists. that is the only thing that has been damaged, not the national security of the united states, but the reputation and credibility of the political officials like mike rogers and dianne feinstein and the others that have lied about his program to congress and implemented it in secret. the final issue, it that he could have used whistleblower channels? he would've had to go to the same members of congress who think that not only are these programs could, but it ought to remain secret. sou have to democratic senator
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who been screaming for three years and there are secret things going on by the nsa based on a secret law by the obama administration and also worked and destroyed -- the was destroyedwarped, that the u.s. would be stunned. edward snowden to come forward the way he did and make all the citizens publicly aware of what the government is doing to us so we could have been open debate about what is going on. anyone says issued a bin that another one has the obligation to identify what this other way was that could have informed the people of this country in the world about what the nsa is doing. we're going to take a break and then come back to this discussion in vietnam right now, the foreign minister of ecuador
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is holding a news conference. he has been reading a letter that edward snowden has written to the president of ecuador, asking for political asylum. and in it, he is saying that if the u.s. government that is intercepting freedom of speech, congress and media is involved as well, and says they are accusing me of being a traitor. they want to present me or execute me for telling people this, he said. we will come back to this discussion of glenn greenwald, the journalist who leaked the story of the nsa whistleblower edward snowden. they met in hong kong where edward snowden had gone to release the information. he had gotten as it was a contractor for hamilton -- booz allen hamilton when he was
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working for booz allen hamilton as a contractor for the nsa in hawaii. we will be back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are speaking with glenn greenwald, the columnist for the guardian newspaper. as news emerged of edward snowden's departure from hong kong, senator dianne feinstein, the chair of the senate intelligence committee, appeared on "face the nation." should talk about what may have facilitated edward snowden's departure. >> i thought china would see this as an opportunity to
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improve relations and extradite him to the united states. china clearly had a role in this, in my view. i don't think this was just hong kong without chinese acquiescence. i think his choice of moscow was interesting. i think what is interesting is he was taken off in a car and his luggage and a separate car. i think it will be very interesting to see what moscow does with him. thirdly, he clearly was aided and abetted, possibly by the wikileaks organization. i heard a rumor he was traveling with someone so this had to have all been preplanned. what the destination is, no one really knows. but i think from the point of view of our committee, something
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that concerns me more, is that we get an understanding in this nation that what this is all about is the nation's security. >> senator feinstein said she it's in no evidence of abuse by the security agency but pointed at china's surveillance practices. >> i see no abuse by these agencies, nor has any kind ever been made in any way shape or form that this was abused. it is interesting to me because i've been going to china for 34 years now try to increase relationships between our two countries. there is no question about chinese -- china's problems in this. there is no question about there tends to get into our national defense networks as well as major private businesses. >> that was senator feinstein on "face the nation." glenn greenwald, your response? >> first of all, dianne
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feinstein is outright lying when she says she does not know of any instances of abuse at the national security agency. leaving aside the fact there in several different reports by abc news, the new york times, the nsa abusing its eavesdropping power in the last four years, there is a 2011 opinion, 80 pages long, from the fisa court which oversees the nsa, and what role -- although the opinion is top-secret and has done been publicly released -- it will the way in which the nsa is spying on american citizens is in violation of the fourth element of the u.s. constitution as well as of access of the limitations imposed by the statute by some -- fisa act. although the public does that have access to that opinion, shockingly in a democracy and have a court will the government has violated the laws of constitution and keep a secret, dianne feinstein has that
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information. when she says into the camera there is no evidence she is aware of the abuse, she is simply lying because she knows the claim she is making is false. secondly, as far as the outrage she expressed that obama officials have expressed over that time is hacking into our military installations and the like, she is right. they are doing that. but one thing these documents exposed by mr. snowden of china is that the u.s. is not only hacking into china's military systems but also into civilian systems. part of the reason why the chinese government was unable to turn snowden over to the u.s. had wanted to was because public opinion in china and hong kong was so enraged by the revelation that there text messages are being directed to nsa depositories, they could not hand span over to the u.s. because of public opinion. >> what about the latest news about the chinese post
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revelation of snowden, about how china's phoned companies and two universities? >> i think the reason snowed made as relations -- revelations it is obvious. he was in hong kong and needed to protect themself over to the u.s. were to spend the rest of his life in prison. he stepped forward to say his government has been lied to the world when it pretends only china hacked into the infrastructure. it was an act of self preservation and a way of exposing the hypocrisy of top- level political officials and u.s. who have trekked their own public into believing that china and not the u.s. does this >> is this espionage? >> espionage is when you work for and at the behest of a foreign government to steal secrets. there is zero evidence he did that. or when you covertly pass secrets to a government, which he never did. or expel secrets, which she
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could have done for millions of dollars to enrich himself and never did. it is not espionage in any sense of the word. the irony is, those who are engaged in massive spying is the u.s. government read mr. snowden refuse to engage in spiring - spy- in another accusing him of espionage. >> i want to play a clip of your interview on "meet the press" yesterday. >> to the extent you have aided and abetted snowdon, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you, mr. greenwald, be charged with a crime? think is pretty extraordinary that anyone who call themselves a journalist would publicly news about whether not other journalists should be charged with felonies. the assumption in your question is completely without evidence, the idea i have aided and abetted them in any way. the scandal that arose was about
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the fact the obama administration is trying to criminalize investigative journalism by going to the emails and phone records from ap reporters, accusing a fox news journalists of the three just embraced, for working with sources being a felony. that means every investigative journalist who works with the resources or reveals classified information as a criminal. it is precisely that climate that has become so menacing in the u.s. and why jane mayer said investigative reporting has come to a standstill. >> the question of a journalist may be up to dattoday. i was just asking a question that has been praised by lawmakers. i am not embracing anything, but i take your point. davidt was david berry -- gregory from "meet the press."
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>> would you like to take this question, calling free to be prosecuted? >> the extremely wall street from new york times "reporter" who covered wall street apparently went on cnbc this morning and essentially speculative or suggested i ought to be arrested as well. i don't know of anybody who has a lower opinion of the beltway media, of david gregory specifically, then i do. it is even surprising to me to watch them openly do the dirty work of the u.s. government and essentially suggest publicly that journalists who report on what the government is doing ought to be turned into criminals. one of the main criticisms i've voiced about the beltway media is there not adversarial to the government at all, but actually they are servants of the government, mouthpieces for it. many others have made that
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critique, including you, amy. i think it is almost like christmas for those of us to believe that to watch this gift been handed to assess of vividly proves it. that rather than defend what is supposed to be their right that they're supposed to safeguard which is freedom of the press, they're meeting the course of other journalists on behalf of the government they served, demanding essentially and their rising that we're guilty of crimes for doing what journalists are supposed to do, which is shining a light on what political officials are doing in the dark. >> mcclatchy had an interesting piece, obama's crackdown these leaks as aiding enemies of the u.s.. talking about president of as a president initiative known as the insider threat program. can you explain what that is? >> the insider threat program is a program implemented by the obama administration that is very consistent with their overall unprecedented attack on leaguers and whistleblowers. that is what new york times
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called it. government employees are encouraged or even impact required to report to authorities any other government employee they even suspect might be thinking about leaking. what makes it so pernicious is it defines people who leak as being enemies of the state. so if any government employees is wrongdoing and brings that wrongdoing to light, then if that wrongdoing was conducted behind a wall of secrecy by having a call classified anything else, they're deemed by the u.s. government to essentially be enemies of the state, the term this program uses for them. this is the vital context for everything that is happening for mr. snowden, wikileaks, for this entire story which is the reason why we need ed snowden, why he came forward in the way he did and the reason why he felt he had to flee the u.s. is precisely because there are no people in the u.s. more persecuted at the moment than
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those who bring transparency to what this government is doing they are treated as enemies of the state, called traders as john kerry, mr. snowden today, and that is the reason investigative journalism is things are threatened by the policies of the obama administration. i hope yours will go to google and type mcclatchy, obama, and leaks and read that report. >> do you have more documents, leaks by edward snowden that you are going to be writing about, more exposés in the coming days? >> definitely. we're going to take our time and reporting it to make sure that everything is accurate and the picture is complete. but only party at the mom is betting these documents and continuing to report on them. >> glenn greenwald, a thank you for being with us, columnist and blogger for the guardian and also a constitutional lawyer. when we come back, we're going
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to be joined by the lawyer for julian assange, michael ratner, president emeritus of the center for constitutional rights. the latest news we have, it was reported that edward snowden left hong kong and went to russia and inf was going to cuba, but journalists on the airplane he was supposedly going to be on say his seat was empty. that is what we know this point. we also have been monitoring a news conference that has been held by the ecuadoran foreign minister in vietnam saying they have received a letter from edward snowden to the president forcuador, appealing political asylum. we will be back with michael ratner and a moment. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as we continue our coverage of edward snowden on the run, looking for political asylum, the foreign minister of ecuador is in vietnam holding a news conference as we broadcast. he is holding it in spanish, but the rough translation we have he says that snowden feels he will not receive a fair trial, that ecuador will act according to the framework of human-rights and international law. again, ecuador has received a letter, the president corre, asking for political asylum.
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snowden finds himself persecuted by those who should be providing and permission to the world about what snowden has revealed. he says all the citizens in the world have been affected by the u.s. surveillance programs revealed by snowden. i'm looking at a rough log. our department is translating the news conference and the guardian has a live blog of the news conference. the prime minister says there will guarantee the safety of people who publish opinions to the media and work in any form of communication. he says no human being will be considered illegal because of his immigration status. we do not do that in ecuador. we turn now to michael ratner, president emeritus of the center for constitutional rights. he is a lawyer for julian assange and wikileaks. julian assange has gotten political asylum by the ecuadoran government and remains
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holed up in the ecuadorean embassy in london because the british government threatens to arrest him if he steps foot outside. he just recently met with ecuador's foreign minister who went to the embassy to speak with him. michael ratner, what is the latest you have since wikileaks is aiding illegally edward snowden, according to wikileaks and julian assange, where edward snowden is right now? >> wikileaks has said they have given legal and diplomatic advice to edward snowden. they have also said that he left hong kong and that he was on his way on a safe route to ecuador. that is really all we know right now, that he has left hong kong and on a safe route to ecuador where he has applied for political asylum. and as you explained, they have given political asylum to julian assange already and i believe
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there is a song basis -- a strong basis for giving political asylum to edward snowden as well. >> we understand in the midst of this the u.s. has revoked edward snowden's passport. what is the significance of this? corrects the u.s. is trying to police snowden, other countries in particular, and to try to get him back to the u.s.. they don't really have a legal basis for it. as far as i know there is an international arrest warrant for snowden. the three charges the unsealed in a leak apparently that is not even a spokesperson saying, here they are, they're trying to bully other countries that only by pulling his passport so he cannot travel, but by saying send him back to us. none of those are legal. and they're just a big country beating up on small countries, or tried to intimidate.
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the point is, some countries are willing to stand up to the united states. ecuador seems to be one of them. >> why don't you explain what you're just going to say about the significance of what is happening with edward snowden right now. >> what people fail to understand is getting asylum is based on your persecution because of your political opinions. that is something that is recognized and the refugee convention, etc.. all of the world recognizes that, even the u.s. political opinion is often considered to be by many countries to protect whistleblowers. whistleblowers to talk about the corruption of their government and the criminality of their government are considered to be expressing political opinions and are protected by the refugee convention. only country, the right now this seems to be willing to protect people like julian assange and edward
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snowden is ecuador, at least feel the one that has come forward in the way they have. the u.s. has applied every convention protecting whistleblowers from other countries whether it be china or other countries in africa, and applied that. so for the u.s. to now the san wish to get our hands on him and he should not asylum, it is really contrary to law. his application for asylum, just like julian assange, has tremendous validity. >> it is very difficult to really know what is happening at this point. technically, we don't even know he left hong kong. it is not that people reported seeing him on a plane, or do we know this, michael ratner? >> we only know it from wikileaks tweeting it and saying it that he has left hong kong on his with ecuador and a stake in a safe route. that is the main information i have about it. that is the information we have.
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>> michael, you are the attorney for julian assange or one of the attorney's for wikileaks, which has been tweeting their providing legal assistance to edward snowden. are you involved with giving the legal assistants? >> no, i'm not. i am not at all. i woke up in the morning and saw that edward snowden had left hong kong on the tweet, and that is as much as i know about the legal advice and assistance that was given by wikileaks. >> and so we understand he moved on to russia and then there were reports and glenn greenwald is repeated them, the reporter who released the number of the documents that ed snowden leaked theim, glenn greenwald said reports were he landed in russia, might have gone to the venezuelan or ecuadorean embassies overnight, and then
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was headed on to cuba. can you explain what the logic is that this route back of cuba, as another transit point, to then go on, it is it your understanding, ecuador? >> what has happened in the world, certainly since the end of the cold war, it is the u.s. has been so incredibly dominant that it can bully almost every country in the world. it is very difficult to take on, trouville as these people have, the massive surveillance system on all of its citizens. so how to people protect themselves when there are really countries dominated so forcefully by the u.s.? they're very few places they can do that. they might enjoy it in a country like russia which is willing to take on the u.s. on a number of issues or in a place like cuba, since the revolution in 1959 has been willing to be a haven for people who are taking on the
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united states and trying to find its own way in the world, and now they can do it in places in south america, perhaps ecuador as it has been stated where they have received the application for asylum, perhaps places like venezuela, bolivia, other places trying to get independent of the u.s. airline so the round has to be one in which he can be protected from the long arm of the united states which will do anything it can to stop this massive surveillance system that it is running from the exposed or it can be debated. that is one thing know what to say. what glenn greenwald said, these democrats and republicans and journalists lineup and say, this person has to be gotten by with every legal means -- by whatever legal means, is all to me. we should be discussing this massive surveillance program on
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all of us in america, and people all over the world. and that is when you hear dianne feinstein say, we need a balance, i don't think there is a balance of my privacy vs. national security. but even if you assume we need the balance, we don't have anything like that. ofhave total transparency everything we do, and complete openness on what our government does. what we should be doing is not where he is going, which is a concern, or not about members of congress tried to say let's give him or the media saying we beuld get him, we should talking about the very fact we have a massive surveillance world in which the u.s. and the u.k. and other countries are controlling by information, everything we can do.
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>> what about the criticism of edward snowden that he had channels he could have gone to to raise concerns that there are protections of whistleblowers in the united states? >> i think glenn greenwald answered that forcefully. we know what has happened other whistleblowers that have done that. thomas drake has talked about what happened when he tried that. but the real point is that every branch of this government -- congress, the courts or the secret court to the extent they have approved this material, the president's -- they're all in cahoots of this surveillance program. they have agreed to it. so where is the whistle blower going to go but outside a journalists? that is why journalism plays such a crucial role. that is why independent journalism is such a crucial role in getting the government criminality and deceit made
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public. >> let's go to geoffrey stone who was on democracy now! he recruited president obama to the law school before he was president and is on the advisory board of the aclu, was in early adviser to president obama in 2008. he suggested the nsa surveillance pro room was legal and constitutional. if we wanta program, to call it, does not involve wiretapping of phone numbers. the supreme court has long held to government is able obtain these records want to disclose that information for a third party. there is no for them a violation. >> that is the former dean of chicago lawty school. protectot only have to civil liberties, yet to protect against terrorism. what will destroy civil liberties in this country more
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effectively than anything else is another 9/11 attack. if the government is not careful about that and we have more attacks like that, you can be sure the kinds of things the government is doing now will be regarded as small potatoes compared to what would happen in the future. it is very complicated asking what is the best way to protect civil liberties. is former university of chicago law school dean and professor, geoffrey stone. michael ratner, your response? >> on the legality issue, whenever i think about courts right now in the way [indiscernible] "war on terrorism," and i don't think a lot of them as we have guantanamo up and no action on drones, not exactly protecting our liberties. when jeffrey stone talks about the approval of the for commitment and getting what is , windows werea
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approved, they were approved on an individual case, not on a mass surveillance of every single phone call in the u.s.. i would hope a court would say, that is absolutely no good. when you're doing that, you're getting data that allows the government to agree to more phone'sting a single metadata. but we're not just talking about metadata, but the prison system which you described in this program are described so well in the guardian article, the way they get the content of emails, et cetera, and others of american citizens and people around the world. that has not been approved. i hope it never would be. i don't take as my judge what the courts do with regard to these kinds of issues, particularly in the face of the war and terror. what we have is an illegal program because it is hacking
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into people all over the world, and that is illegal, and under their domestic laws and our domestic laws, you cannot do that. these programs are not legal in any way i can see. whatever we think of that in any case, as others have said so strongly, this ought to be brought out in debated. we are in a critical next decade for the rest of our lives -- of what the rest of our lives are going to be transparent for the government to see so they can transmit information to every government there close to, when they want to stop the it, etc.tion, stop they claim there were 50 cases, and they came up with nothing at all to say it did that. a couple of places where there were wiretapping people overseas came back, not very strong
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cases, not very strong cases at all. is this huge massive surveillance system of every single person in the world theeivably, is terrorism real justification or is it something else that simply the u.s. and a couple of other countries, the u.k., tried to dominate what would of been the most democratic system in the world, the internet, and tried to dominated from a vertical point, a high point on top of it and just take control of all of our lives through information? that is what i think is going on. >> michael ratner, you have been to the trial of bradley manning, which is ongoing at fort meade, the headquarters of the national security agency, and the lawyer for julian assange. if you could talk about julian assange, bradley manning, and edward snowden, and the relationships? >> the people allegedly, in the
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case of bradley manning, a mitigate information to wikileaks, bradley manning and jeremy hammond who hacked into the stratfor emails. in the lasten, couple of weeks. ,he relationship of the two manning's trial going on right now. it is an outrage to me. the government wants to go ahead and hand them a sledgehammer and give a light. jeremy hammond had to plead guilty to 10 years because that over prosecuted him. ed snowden,, despite the veryehammer, yet to be proud of him. >> michael ratner, we have to leave it there, lawyer for julian assange. we wish the best wedding congratulations to democracy .ow! dennis
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happy birthday to karen. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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